Shayan’s Law Update

Full Mental Health Parity passed in Washington state in 2005.  It was phased in over 5 years and all state regulated plans renewing after 7/1/2010 are legally obligated to  cover medically necessary treatments for individuals with a DSM diagnosis for life, with the same dollar cap as medical & surgical benefits. WA MHP is only applicable to plans regulated by WA state laws, fully funded plans and Public Employees Benefits.

Shayan’s Law was brought forward because insurance companies have not been following the letter and spirit of this law for individuals with autism.  This has prompted legal experts to look into this very closely.  Based on the information available to us:

  1. Diagnosis and treatment should be covered if referrals (prescribed testing and treatment) came from a licensed physician or licensed psychologist.
  2. Treatment should be provided by a licensed therapist.
  3. Unlicensed providers (i.e. nationally certified behavior specialists and behavior therapy assistants) must become licensed through Washington State department of health.

Navigating this system can be difficult, for help with the process visit:  http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Washington-Autism-Advocacy/.

We are awaiting the outcome of court cases testing Mental Health Parity and depending on the outcome have to be prepared to block any action that will limit protection under Mental Health Parity for those with autism.   If you have any questions, concerns or comments, please post to the link above.

All my best,

Arzu Forough

Shayan’s Law-Autism Insurance Parity-Hearing update

Many thanks to all the families and advocates who packed the hearing room yesterday, dressed in red and carrying pictures of their children or accompanied with their children.

Our hearing was well orchastrated.   Lorri Unumb(Autism Speaks Senior Policy Advisor), Dr’s Bryan King and Gary Stobbe (Seattle Children’s Hospital Autism Center), Kathy George (Harrison, Benis & Spence attorney), Arzu Forough (Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy) and Chanel Krueger (highly accomplished, articulate young lady with autism) were among those who provided testimony is support of Shayan’s Law, Autism Insurance Parity (AIP). (The hearing can be viewed through TVW archives by clicking here).

The fiscal calculations on the state of WA to cover the public employee’s dependents  was grossly inflated ($141,773,139), so much so that several committee members requested a revised fiscal data from the office of Financial Management (OFM).

The Senate committee members were clearly in favor of Shayan’s Law.  Our next steps is two fold,  provide true cost impact  data from states that have had AIP for over a decade AND to continue to build the momentum of support.

Here’s How YOU Can Help:

1.Call and write all members of the committee (click on text for contact info.) and let them know Washington state can’t afford to bear the cost of autism alone, let them know how much your family (and/or local school district) ia spending on your loved one with autism(on specialized developmental, behavioral and education programs).

2. Multiply your efforts, forward this note to teachers, therapists, friends, any and all supporters and ask them to please get actively involved.

3.Volunteer with us (click here to view volunteering opportunities)


Thank you for your consideration.

Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy Coalition

To receive updates about Shayan’s Law please register:

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To post questions, comments, inquiries visit:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Washington-Autism-Advocacy/